Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (Book Review 2010-8)
I am a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier and her latest book doesn't disappoint. I loved the friendship between the two main characters, (each told from their points of view), of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. This story builds upon historical facts that both of these ladies discovered and collected dinosaur fossils when this was not very "ladylike".
Chevalier did an excellent job at filling in the gaps and personalizing these historical figures, both of whom I had never heard of and makes me want to research more into their lives. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Lisa See will enjoy this one.
A voyage of discoveries, a meeting of two remarkable women, and extraordinary time and place enrich bestselling author Tracy Chevalier's enthralling new novel.
From the moment she's struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"-and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.
Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.
Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.
About the Author
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult (January 5, 2010)
OBTAINED FROM: Public Library